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Buying a Law Practice Makes Sense

As baby boomers age and start to think about retirement, these lawyers begin to think about selling their legal practices. At the same time, younger lawyers are looking for ways to expand or diversify their practices. They are also thinking about buying a law practice. Buying a law practice is a strategy that offers sellers and buyers alike significant gain with minimal risk. Don’t be a Skeptic Even though the risk is small, it is enough to scare off some potential buyers. Lawyers, after all, are blessed with ultra-cautious DNA. For many, the term “risk” is not part of their vocabulary. Perhaps the following hypothetical example will persuade skeptical buyers by demonstrating the small risk and potential high reward of a law practice… ... Read More

Lawyers: Beware Low Billing Rates

Lawyers bill too little for two reasons. First, they believe that a lower fee will yield more clients. Alternatively, especially when they represent individuals and small business owners, lawyers feel sorry for their clients and end up billing what they think the client can pay — not what the lawyer is worth. Do not fall victim to either of these faulty arguments. Never, ever compete on cost Other lawyers may bill less for their services than you do, and you may fear losing business to these low-cost competitors. Don’t. Chances are good that these lawyers are not making a profit and will soon go out of business. You don’t want to join them. If I had excess capacity in my practice, I wouldn’t waste it by taking on legal work that los… ... Read More
Categories: Practice Management

Work the Room When Speaking in Public

You’re a lawyer who’s accepted an invitation to speak and the speech is ready to go. It’s now show time. Are you are ready to reap the benefits? The primary benefit of any speaking engagement is not the speech itself. Rather, it is the opportunity to interact in person with members of a select audience of clients, potential clients and referral sources. A lawyer/speaker who arrives at the venue at the last minute, reads through a speech without pausing for audience involvement, and then rushes from the room to the next appointment is making a huge mistake. Speaking engagements offer valuable opportunities for personal interaction before, during and after the actual speech. A few days before your speech, try to obtain a list of attende… ... Read More

Cold Calls Have Chilling Effect On Many Lawyers

Telephone calls to prospective clients or employers can be “cold,” where the person is not expecting your call. They can also be “warm,” where the prospective client knows something about you and is expecting your call. When coaching lawyers, I am often asked about the effectiveness of cold calling. Lawyers who want to develop more business wonder if this highly popularized sales technique might work for them. Lawyers who are looking for jobs wonder if cold calls ever generate warm informational interviews. Almost always, I counsel my clients to turn a cold shoulder on cold calling. The telephone is a “cold” medium The goal of cold calling is to plant a tiny seed that can grow into a relationship —… ... Read More

Asking For The Business: IMHO, Rarely Ethical or Effective

In a previous post dealing with the ethical traps in networking, I discussed how “asking for business” can run afoul of the ABA Rules of Professional Conduct. In this post, I want to discuss how “asking for business” can be ineffective as well as a business development tactic. Continue reading post on www.solopracticeuniversity.com ... Read More

Why You May Want to be a Family Law Attorney When You Grow Up

As an attorney coach, I often counsel lawyers who are considering a move to a new practice area – helping them balance the pros and cons of such career choices. One overlooked area I often recommend is family law. Continue reading post on myshingle.com ... Read More

Surprise! Law Schools Don’t Teach Students How To Be Lawyers

The secret is out. From their first day of legal practice, most lawyers realize that their theoretical legal education is of marginal value when it comes to helping clients solve real-world legal problems. Our clients now know this secret as well — thanks to a comprehensive front page article earlier this month in New York Times. The article is What They Don’t Teach Law Students: Lawyering” and subtitled “Schools Leave Practical Training to Firms by David Segal. There were a few points made in the article that surprised me as an experienced lawyer, and might surprise you as well. Things You May Not Have Known I am well-aware that many law professors have little practice experience, but I didn’t realize that nearly half of the nati… ... Read More
Categories: Legal Careers

Networking Can Be An Ethical Landmine. Be Careful.

Done right, networking is essential for growth; Done wrong, networking can be unethical For solo lawyers in almost all practice areas, success depends on the relationships you develop through personal networking. Many of you already know that and are actively networking. What you may not know is that a lawyer’s networking activities are governed by ethics rules. While my goal is clearly not to inhibit your networking efforts or put a damper on your enthusiasm for interaction with potential clients or referrers of clients, I do want to point out some of the ethics rules so you will be more aware of these tripwires that land unsuspecting lawyers in hot water. Continue reading this post on solopracticeuniversity.com ... Read More

Thinking About a New Solo Practice Area?

When selecting the practice area that will determine how you spend the rest of your career, you can “go deep” or “go shallow.” It is almost always better to “go deep.” “Going deep” means that you select a practice focus that you enjoy, in a healthy market for legal services, and in which you can reasonably obtain the needed skills and experience. How do you proceed? Continue reading this post on myshingle.com ... Read More

Say "Thank You" to Stand Out

I always emphasize the importance of remaining optimistic when coaching lawyers on the topic of job hunting. And, lawyers being lawyers, I always need to provide some reason why they should remain upbeat. I have a simple answer: The job market is actually much less competitive than you think when you consider that so many other job-seekers make fundamental mistakes. Continue reading this post on attorneyatwork.com ... Read More

ABA rules: No major ethics overhaul needed To address web marketing

In a draft proposal issued last month, the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20 recommended no new restrictions relating to online marketing. The Commission did offer some useful guidance on how to interpret some web-based marketing tools within the context of existing ethics rules – guidance that I intend to pass along to the solo and small-firm lawyers that I coach. Continue reading this post on myshingle.com ... Read More

The Cost of Switching Law Firms

If you are a partner considering a move to another firm, you probably have two main reasons. The first almost always involves money. The second usually concerns personality factors or firm culture. That’s shorthand for “I’m working with a bunch of jerks.” Continue reading this post on attorneyatwork.com ... Read More

Buying a Law Practice

Even with the best of marketing tactics, the time needed to build a successful law practice is usually measured in years. There is one tactic that—if properly executed—can help you attain an established practice practically overnight. That tactic is buying rather than building a practice. Continue reading this post at www.lawyerist.com ... Read More

Lawyer Advertising: Louisiana State Regulations and the First Amendment

In the famous 1977 Bates decision, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that lawyers have First Amendment rights, too; legal advertising is constitutionally protected commercial speech. Prior to that, state’s ethics rules prohibited all advertising — and we never saw any of those amusing (and not so amusing) lawyer commercials on television. Continue reading this post on myshingle.com ... Read More

Marketing of Legal Services to an Immigrant Population: A Lawyer Coach Answers the Question, "Does It Work?"

Whenever asked by attendees at one of my marketing CLEs or by my lawyer coaching clients whether they should market their services differently because of what they perceive as “unique circumstances,” I am always somewhat amused. Continue reading this post on minncle.org ... Read More

Working with an Attorney Coach

This summer, I had the privilege of meeting lawyer coach Roy Ginsburg at the Minnesota Solo & Small Firm Conference, then seeing him a few days later at the Nebraska Solo & Small Firm Conference. Roy is well known on the CLE speaking circuit; he is a lawyer himself and in as a former in-house counsel, he also has great insights on what corporate clients look for in hiring lawyers. But Roy also coaches lawyers and that is the subject of his guest post below. Continue reading this post on myshingle.com ... Read More

The Hourly Rate is Dead - Long Live the Hourly Rate

I always wondered what the phrase, “The King is dead. Long live the King” means. If the King is dead, why are the next words, “long live?” According to Wikipedia, the phrase is a traditional proclamation made following the accession of a new monarch. I am reminded of this phrase every time I read about the death of the hourly rate and presumably the “accession” of the alternative fee arrangement (AFA). Well, to paraphrase Mark Twain, “the reports of the death of the hourly rate have been greatly exaggerated.” Continue reading this post on Ezinearticles.com ... Read More
Categories: Practice Management

Smart Lawyers Have Smart Phones

In my CLE on client service, I reveal a very simple formula for satisfying clients. Know what they expect and then manage those expectations. The formula is certainly a simple one, but we all know that it is lot easier said than done. Continue reading this post on Ezinearticles.com ... Read More
Categories: Practice Management

Lawyer Rankings: What's the Ranting Now?

It’s been a few years since lawyer rankings and ratings have been prominently featured in legal media circles. Four years ago, regulatory officials in New Jersey determined that it was “false and misleading” for lawyers in that state to advertise their selection by Best Lawyers or Super Lawyers. After a long legal battle over what was referred to as Opinion 39, (I helped defend Super Lawyers), the New Jersey Supreme Court determined that the selection processes for both publications were bona fide and that lawyers have a First Amendment right to promote the accolade. Since then, things have been pretty quiet other than the usual debate among legal marketers about the degree to which any of the rating services matter from a marketer’… ... Read More

Take Care of Your Referral Sources

I recently had an experience with a professional service provider that reminded me that there are certain things that lawyers should never forget when receiving referral business. We all love to receive referrals; after all, you have a brand new client that took no time and effort to obtain. What can be better? In most instances, nothing. However, here are some basic guidelines for lawyers about referrals that at times they forget. How to Treat Your Referral Sources Very nicely. You would think that would be obvious, but for some, it is not. You should always promptly thank your referral sources. As a coach, there are times when I refer my clients to other service providers for expertise that I do not have. It never ceases to amaze me how m… ... Read More
I liked Roy’s organized way of approaching my problems and coming quickly to the most important points. His friendly manner of speaking was very helpful. I felt as though Roy understood not only the dollars and cents of my practice, but also th…" Read the rest
– Solo practitioner, Chapel Hill, NC

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